Earlier today, Michigan was poised for a minor upset of their in-state rivals Michigan State - when the Wolverine's punter, Blake O’Neill dropped the snap. The ball landed in the hands of Spartans safety Jalen Watts-Jackson, who ran it in for a touchdown on the last play of the game - giving Michigan State the victory.
The woman in the center of the above photo (2:33 in video) is a Michigan fan who's displaying a classic nonverbal signal seconds after the game ended. Although not limited to athletics, within the culture of the sporting world (regardless of the country), this "Hands-on-Head" configuration is very common (in players, fans and sometimes even coaches/managers/owners). It indicates either a significant missed opportunity or, more typically, a loss. In addition it signals emotional processing - for although the intellectual brain knows what has just transpired, the emotional mind has yet to fully adapt to this sudden change.
It's no coincidence that this hands-on-head nonverbal is similar/identical to how captured soldiers are made to stand once they're captured. While in most body language scenarios where the hands/arms are raised are ones with a positive meaning, this is a notable exception.
It's also important to notice this woman's mouth. It's configured in a "slack-jawed" manner - which indicates psychological shock. It shares some similarities with the mouth of sincere surprise (yet it's opened wider horizontally while a surprise mouth typically opens wider vertically). The vast majority of the time, a slack-jawed mouth also displays no teeth. The lips are loose and plump with mild protrusion.
Coaches take heed - for players who adopt this pose on the field or on the sidelines have already psychologically given-up. You've already lost.
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